“Cross Cut Saw” – Albert King (Stax, 1966)

“Cross Cut Saw,” one of Albert King’s early chart hits, was a song with a complicated evolution. Originally a downhome Delta blues recorded in 1941 by Tony Hollins and Tommy McClennan, it was later recorded as a slow B.B. King-style 45 by a Memphis group, the Binghampton Blues Boys, led by Wilroy Sanders. In the Stax studio on November 2, 1966, drummer-producer Al Jackson reworked it again for Albert King, infusing it with a snappy Latin beat, and King’s version became a standard in the repertoire of countless blues bands. A 1974 Stax version by King introduced yet another arrangement.  (All the Stax versions gave writer credit to R.G. Ford, owner of a label that released the Binghampton Blues Boys 45.) By one account, the song came to Albert via WDIA DJ A.C. “Moohah” Williams. But King, who said in an unpublished Living Blues interview that he had never heard the song, gave fellow Stax artist William Bell credit for bringing it to him; Bell in turn gives the primary credit to Jackson, and according to Stax historian Rob Bowman, Booker T. Jones and Steve Cropper of the MG’s agree.  Bell says Stax was looking for another “wood song” to follow up Eddie Floyd’s monster hit of 1966, “Knock on Wood,” and the line “I can cut your wood so easy for you” made “Cross Cut Saw” a perfect choice.

2018-04-17T18:45:18+00:00 March 6th, 2018|